Media and the sexualization of children: Thoughts from a concerned parent

spot_thumbA scene from Tylenol’s new commercial, #HowWeDoFamily

The Today Show’s article about a transgender child came up on my Facebook newsfeed once again.

This is the third time I have seen an article from The Today Show featuring children whom, they say, have realized they were born the wrong sex.

These children are 10 years and under. They have yet to hit puberty. Their minds, personalities and bodies are still maturing, and, therefore, we would not consider them adults.

Yet, these children have become the poster children for a sexually hungry and motivated media. They are Exhibit A for a liberal, sexual agenda.

The unnaturalness of same-sex marriage or transgender practices has become naturalized, and if they can prove that people are just born that way, starting with young children, then they believe they have their argument made.

What has resulted, I think, is an overt sexualization of children.

In an important but disturbing article, Katie Yoder makes the case that the media is transfixed on transgender children and its movement.

But the media is not just using children who express a desire to be the opposite sex or love the same sex for its agenda. (This is the first problem.) Those few elite personalities behind the media are trying to influence and change the way our children believe, think about and view sexuality as evidenced in the kinds of shows targeted to our children.

Just take a look at the shows playing on ABC Family, whose tagline is “A new kind of family.” Becoming Us is about an “ordinary” (note the use of this word) Midwestern boy named Ben whose father, after his parents’ divorce, is now transitioning into a woman. Or, how about Baby Daddy, which is about another main character named Ben, whose ex-girlfriend left their baby on his doorstep and who is now raising this child with two other single male adults. Then there’s The Fosters, which is about two lesbian women raising six children. They are described as a “close-knit, loving family.” I could list other popular shows aimed at our children, like Glee, that are hyper-sexualized and seem to blush at nothing.

In addition, the media is obsessed with Bruce-turned-Caitlyn Jenner since this popular, all-American athlete makes the perfect model and spokesperson for the transgender movement. (He also was recently awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award from ESPN).

I fully expect to see cartoons, video games, children books and movies reflecting these changing views of family and marriages. Already last week I saw a new Tylenol commercial that is trying to redefine conventional family by including scenes of both lesbian and gay couples with children using the hashtag, #HowWeDoFamily.

So where does this leave me as a parent, who believes traditional marriage is best for society and children and who doesn’t share the same views and sympathies as those shared in media?

I don’t have five suggested steps or three answers that will solve our problems. I’m simply sounding the alarm. For some, an alarmist is a bad thing. But for me, alarms have always saved my life – whether it was when my apartment burned down or when a tornado passed by our home. I am grateful for alarms.

I want to provide information and pose questions. As a former journalist, the best starting place is becoming knowledgeable. Knowledge truly is power.

I want to become vigilant and aware of how a minority is trying to change the views of the majority. I want to speak up where necessary and say “No” where needed, even if it isn’t a popular thing to do. Instead of watching Disney and Pixar movies on ABC Family (which has a ridiculous amount of commercials anyway), I can rent those movies. We lived for six months in England without a TV; it is possible (and wonderful!).

Most importantly I do not want to give the media any voice where it concerns my family, particularly my son.

I remember watching the show Friends in college, while my roommate’s favorite show was Will and Grace. We laughed and made excuses for the promiscuous hetero- and homo-sexual lifestyles. They won us over with comedy. It was just so funny. However, these shows, over time, can act like guitar strings on fingers, making us calloused.

But I see more clearly now that while these shows did not change my view of sexuality, over time it has played a part in changing our society’s views. Like a stream that over many years changes the appearance of mountains, the media over time has helped to change and bend hearts and minds to its will.

I don’t want to be ignorant. I want to be vigilant and prayerful. I pray that as my husband and I teach God’s view of sexuality, according to Scripture, to our son, that the Word of God and our feeble attempt will be a louder voice than that of the media.

Like King Solomon, I, too, will say to my son, “Do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” (Prov. 3:1-2)

Concerning the media and those who wish to pervert sexuality, I will tell him, “For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.” (Prov. 5:3-6)